The instrument interface of first and last resort.

The cursesINDI tool is available on all MagAO-X computers (including VMs and the test bed) and enables viewing and manipulation of the instrument settings via low-level properties and the INDI protocol. It can be useful when adding new drivers to the system, or when trying to track down a strange behavior in a higher-level GUI interface.

You do not need to be xsup to run cursesINDI, but you do need localhost:7624 to connect to a local or remote indiserver. This is the case when SSHed in to AOC, RTC, ICC, or the testbed (TCC); otherwise, you can use SSH tunneling.


Start cursesINDI from a terminal with the cursesINDI command.

screenshot of a terminal showing cursesINDI in action

screenshot of a terminal showing cursesINDI in action

The terminal will blank and show something like the top pane in the screenshot above. Note: that you may need to resize your terminal to see all five columns:

  • index

  • device name

  • property name (and meta info, see below)

  • element name (see conventions below)

  • value

By default, you’re in “search” mode. Start typing a device name and cursesINDI will scroll the list to bring that device into view. Right-arrow over to the value column, and the search: prompt will change to (e)dit this number. Hit the e key and you’ll be prompted to set devname.propname.element=. Type in your new value, hit enter, and confirm (after checking carefully) the new value with y. (Or, you can hit Esc to get out of setting the value.)

Note that many properties are read-only, and you will not be offered to edit them if so.

cursesINDI also shows you the current value of the element you have selected as set devname.propname.element = <value>. Text and numbers are displayed as transmitted by INDI. Switches use |O| for off and |X| for on.

Property meta info

The bracketed letter indicates whether a property is a [t]ext, [n]umber, [s]witch, or [l]ight as defined by INDI. The character after the brackets can be ~ (Idle), - (Ok), * (Busy), or ! (Alert). You’ll see Idle properties switch to Busy when you set them, and back to Idle once the state you’ve set has been reached.

Element naming convention

In the MagAO-X instrument, the convention is for settable properties to expose their current value and their target value as two elements of the property. This is useful to, e.g., command stages and compare their current location to their commanded one. (Thanks to limitations in INDI, “read-only” can only apply to properties, not elements. Functionally, current is read-only and all edits are to target.)

Process Logs

All process logs for INDI-connected MagAO-X applications are streamed to INDI clients. cursesINDI writes these as they are received to the file /tmp/cursesINDI_logs.txt. You can monitor these logs in real-time with the command

$ tail -f /tmp/cursesINDI_logs.txt

The result is shown in the bottom pane of the above screenshot. Most terminal programs allow you to split the screen, making for a nice combined system control panel with the logs on the bottom. The image above shows this.

The cursesINDI log file will only contain up to 1000 entries, at which point is emptied and restarted. For more detailed inspection of a processes history you must use the logdump utility.